Nobody wants to be sold to

Issue 2

It really shouldn't be this hard to attract new customers, right?

Remember how great it used to feel when a prospect actually replied to one of your cold emails? Or when you could actually get through to a decision-maker on the phone? Or when a Facebook ad was actually able to generate a direct sale?!

Getting someone to pay attention used to be (dare I say) easy. Then things changed.

Now, no matter how much you pay Google and Facebook to bring you a new website visitor, they don't stick around for very long. And of those who explore your site, very few actually go on to become customers.

Yet, you keep trying. You test new ad campaigns. New email copy. New sales pitches.

But nothing is working anymore. Why?

Because it’s not only you that's trying to steal their attention – it’s everyone!

Your customers live in a world of infinite options. There’s too much noise and too many choices. They don't know where to look. Or, who to trust.

The traditional marketing messages that come directly from you are no longer effective. And the tactics you use to push them towards a sale, like ads and cold calls, only serve to drive them further away.

We’re living in an attention economy. And the new currency is trust.

Today, your customers have all the power. They get to decide who they want to do business with. And if they don’t trust you – you have zero chance.

[Click to Tweet this]

Of course, ads are still vital for making an audience aware of your business.

But to truly motivate and capture the attention of customers, you have to instil trust. And not through what you say, but through your actions as conveyed by others.

In other words, you are no longer selling a product or service. You are selling trust.

– GH

P.S. If you’d like to learn about trust-based marketing and how you can stand out in a noisy world, subscribe to my new podcast, Unscalable.fm.

Here’s a 90-second teaser. Ep. 1 is out on Tuesday!


⭐️ 5 Stars Only

Welcome to 5 Stars Only, where I share the 5 things I’ve been loving, learning, and loathing.

⭐️ A thought I’m pondering

"More ads create more clutter, resulting in a decrease in ad performance, so marketers invent new ads which create more clutter resulting in a decrease in ad performance so marketers invent new ads which create more clutter... This isn’t the Circle of Life The Lion King promised!"

– Ron Tite

⭐️ What’s bugging me

The situation at Basecamp where 30% of their workforce resigned after they introduced new policies banning political discussions at work has really, really bothered me.

It’s one thing introducing controversial new policies. It’s another thing when the CEO announces them publicly to the world before even informing his team.

In fact, in their latest book, "It Doesn't Have To Be Crazy At Work", they completely contradict their new policies with this paragraph on page 82:

“The worst thing you can do is pretend that inter-personal feelings don't matter. That work should "just be about work." That's just ignorant. Humans are humans, whether they're at work or at home.”

I used to be a fanboy. I drank their cool-aid.

Their opinions on bootstrapping in a highly competitive space is what gave me the confidence to start my company in the first place and retain 100% ownership until our exit. We even adopted a product management process, made famous by their Head of Strategy of 15 years, who has now also resigned.

Now I question everything.

Note to self: What's portrayed publicly by our heroes is never the full picture.

⭐️ What I’m reading

Demand-Side Sales 101: Stop Selling and Help Your Customers Make Progress

Favourite quote from the book: "People buy a drill to make a hole, right? We keep trying to sell people the drill, when the reality is, we should be helping them figure out how to drill the hole."

⭐️ The product I’m loving

Notion. I've discovered that Notion replaces so many of the tools I've become accustomed to using like Google Docs, Asana, Jira, Bear etc. I love that I can just embed a Kanban board into a document!

⭐️ What I’m listening to

Martine bought me the Motown Greatest Hits album for our vinyl collection. It’s a superb compilation! Honestly, I didn’t realise I liked Motown until I listened to this! Thanks for the birthday present, Martine!